By Self-Love Literature Contributing Editor Taylre Malloy
For most writers, many critiques, rejection letters, and feedback often revolve around the precibus of cross-genre fiction.
As planet Earth’s industries evolve at a rate faster than the speed of light, when it comes to the rise of cross-genre fiction, the current publishing industry still expects writers to write within the box.
Whether your story is too romancy. Or not sci-fi enough to be considered true science fiction. Or in my case, too advanced to be considered teen-based young adult fiction. From whichever lens the industry chooses to perceive your story, always remember that there is no box, category, or genre that can define your story. Or it’s potential. Here are three reasons why.
True Stories are Shapeless
Since the dawn of time, the term genre fiction has referred to books that fit into cookie-cutter-like categories such as science fiction, romance, mystery, fantasy, horror, historical, young adult, etc. But take a closer glance at any bookshelf today, and you might be surprised to see how much the lines between genre fiction and mainstream fiction are blurring.
Like gravity, our writing is sometimes boundless, shapeless, and container-less, and full of real-world concepts and perspectives that flow from one genre to the next like water.
Good fiction is a very subjective concept, especially in the writing world. Fiction that holds meaning to one reader can seem utterly unappealing and boring to another. Beautiful writing lives in the eyes of the beholder and whichever form your writing takes, just know that it’s your words and story that hold meaning.
Genre’s are selling points, not death sentences
Although extremely helpful when it comes to the marketing aspect of your novel and the industry alike, keep in mind that your novel’s genre is not everything.
Similar to a conveyor belt in a factory, genres can often feel like air tight boxes novels are placed into and then sorted by the publisher aka converyer belt into neatly assorted packages. Though necessary, the industry has developed a gridlock perception of what genre- fiction is, and rather than allowing a novel to take the natural form of whichever container the story chooses writers often spend far too much time wondering exactly what box their story fits in. Or how their novel will sell within the industry. Rather than focusing on the joy of creating their story.
For example, though the protagonists of New Adult fiction are generally older than young adults. Try not to spend all your time writing fiction targeting a specific audience. Receiving a rejection letter from a publisher based on whether or not your Young Adult Sci-Fi novel is actually New Adult can be challenging to understand exactly where your story belongs. But keep in mind while writing that fitting into the lines just to appease genre was never your main goal.
Cross-Genre Fiction Promotes Industry Diversity and Thinking Outside the Box
Despite what the industry tells us, versatile novels should be rooted in their ability to connect to readers of all interests and backgrounds because some stories are just that freaking awesome! A great novel redefines the concept of art by not fitting easily into a category or genre, yet still telling a great story. By creating stories that an audience would not consider a specific genre alone, it forces that industry to re-think what genre truly is and how to evolve beyond it.
Whether your story takes the form of a childish scribble that somehow ended up in between worlds of middle grade and young adult. Or a prophetic montage of emotions seductively strung together in an epic Sci-Fi/romance novel. No matter the form your story takes, the ability to connect to your audience through your story is the ultimate goal.